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Bill Gates Says Covid-19 Accelerated Digital Financial Revolution

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At the ongoing annual Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation & TeCHnology (SFF x SWITCH), Microsoft founder Bill Gates has observed that the Covid-19 pandemic has been instrumental in supercharging the digital revolution.

Gates said this situation is disrupting and presents regulators with an opportunity to narrow financial inequities in their countries.

“Digital things overall, whether it’s remote learning, or telemedicine, or digital finance, were greatly advanced. So even though the pandemic has been terrible, it has pushed for some of these innovations,” Bill Gates said.

He observed that, “In this area (of) digital financial inclusion, it’s gotten the governments to say, wow, we really need to fix this.”

He said the said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working toward enabling two-thirds of the world to gain financial access within the next 10 years.

Bill Gates cited World Bank data showing the disparity in financial access across the world – as at 2017, 94 per cent of adults in high-income countries had an account either with a bank, financial institution or mobile-money service provider. This proportion fell to 35% in low-income countries.

Countries like India and Kenya have in recent years put in place technologies to improve digital financial inclusion, the billionaire said.

His foundation supports India’s nationwide open-source identity platform MOSIP (Modular Open Source Identity Platform), which serves as the backbone for effective delivery of public and private services.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, this platform enabled authorities to channel financial help digitally to millions who were locked down in their villages.

Central banks and financial institutions are key to facilitating financial inclusion in a digital age, Gates noted.

The foundation’s work involves getting central banks comfortable with these new approaches, when they see the success and that the open-source toolkit has worked to track down mistakes and make the systems reliable, he said.

And in some ways, they may find these approaches better than cash, as central banks “can go back and audit what’s going on”, Gates added. “We think over the next five years most of the central banks will see it’s okay to do this, because the building blocks are very accessible and there is almost a straightforward way that they can get their citizens all connected up.”

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Rwanda No More Home To Cheapest Data in EAC

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Tanzania is now the place to be for anyone intending to fit in the world of seamless communication according to new adjustments made by the East African coastal nation.

For only $0.75, one gets a gigabyte of data in Tanzania making it the cheapest offer among countries in the regional bloc.

Rwanda which has been leading is now pushed below to second position with $1.25 for a gigabyte of data.

In comparison to other countries in the regional bloc, Uganda ($1.56) and Burundi ($2.10) while Kenya, which was second in East Africa last year charging $1.04, now charges $2.25 per gigabyte (GB).

These latest statistics are according to data released by British technology research firm Cable.

The report, Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021, reveals that Somalia is no longer offering the most affordable mobile internet in Africa, moving to third, as Sudan and Algeria take the first and second places respectively.

“In Sudan, the cost of mobile internet is $0.27, cheapest in Africa and fifth in the world. Algeria is second at $0.51 and Somalia third at $0.60.

Israel is now offering the most affordable mobile internet in the world at $0.05, moving from second place last year. Israel is followed by Kyrgyzstan ($0.15), Fiji ($0.19), Italy ($0.27) and Sudan.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable said many countries with cheap data have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, enabling providers to offer large amounts of data, and bring down price per gigabyte.

“Others with less advanced broadband networks are heavily reliant on mobile data” he said. Nigeria and South Africa, which command high internet traffic from its tech savvy population are charging $0.88 and $2.67 respectively.

Countries with long-established, ubiquitous 4G or new 5G infrastructure, the study points out, tend to fall towards the cheaper end of the table.

“This is due to the fact that mobile data plans have escalated far beyond the 1-10GB per month median, offering instead plans with caps in the hundreds of gigabytes, or even completely unlimited.

The cost per gigabyte in these countries will tend therefore to be very low.

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Rwanda Showcases e-Mobility Technology

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Rwanda’s Infrastructure Ministry is this Tuesday showcasing the e-Mobility Technology – an event that will go through until 2PM later in the day.

The showcase is organised in partnership with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

According to REMA, “vehicular emissions are the largest contributor to air pollution in Rwanda’s urban centres,” this showcase therefore is exhibiting innovations that seek to cut down on such emissions.

This inaugural event also seeks to demonstrate the power and potential of sustainable transport to create jobs, grow the economy and improve health outcomes for all.

e-Mobility or specifically Electro mobility represents the concept of using electric power-train technologies, in-vehicle information, and communication technologies and connected infrastructures to enable the electric propulsion of vehicles and fleets.

Powertrain technologies include full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that convert hydrogen into electricity.

e-Mobility efforts are motivated by the need to address corporate fuel efficiency and emission requirements, as well as market demands for lower operational costs.

The E-Mobility Technology showcase event in the capital Kigali

Road map for e-mobility transition in Rwanda

Since Electric vehicles (EV) are gaining popularity among both governments and the private sector globally as an energy efficient mobility technology, Rwanda embraces the fact that their expansion is now inevitable, as they aim to scale up their nascent e-moto industry.

Researchers recommend e-mobility be implemented in the context of a wider vision and set of policies that increase person-carrying capacity of roads, implement complete streets and integrate different modes of transport.

The researchers suggest that government of Rwanda identifies a viable market segment of early EV adopters, and apply a combination of fiscal incentives including price subsidies, well-targeted tax breaks, and non-fiscal incentives to increase e-mobility in the early stages.

According to statistics (2020), Rwanda has 221,000 registered vehicles consisting of 52% motorcycles and 38% passenger vehicles of which at least 30,000 are in Kigali.

The number of vehicles is increasing rapidly (almost 12% per year) and the government is thus concerned about deteriorating air quality in Kigali and rising fuel import bills (12% of total imports).

A recent EV study recommended that government should aim to convert 30% of motorcycles, 8% of cars, 20% buses and 25% of mini and micro buses to electric power, by 2030, although senior officials and private sector firms have expressed their desire for a faster transition, especially in e-motos.

Currently, Volkswagen is also exploring electric mobility solutions and Global Green Growth Institute is studying the possibility of introducing e-buses.

Electrification of motorbikes will improve air quality and therefore health outcomes, cut carbon emissions (from about 55.1 grams per kilometre for ICE-motos to about 13.3 grams per kilometre for e-motos),

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Harley-Davidson Releases U$30,000 Electric Motorcycle

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Motocycle enthusiasts have something unique awaiting release from Harley-Davidson.

The electric motorcycle Harley-Davidson is rolling out this year, it hopes will capture the imagination of a new generation of riders. Harley-Davidson has been testing this electric motorcycle for more than four years.

This new monster costs nearly U$30,000 and can go zero to 60 mph in three seconds. There is no clutch and no shifting.

Harley’s traditional, non-electric motorcycles range from about U$6,900 for a compact, urban model to nearly U$44,000 for a fully-loaded touring bike.

It Features high-quality Brembo brakes, fully adjustable Showa suspension, Michelin sports tires, improved anti-lock brakes for cornering, traction control, etc.

Apart from its electric motor, another feature that makes the LiveWire a different bike is its large number of online services .

Its Telematic Control Unit, placed under the seat, allows the user to access all the functionalities from his smartphone .

You can check data such as the status of the motorcycle, the level of battery charge or information about the trip in progress.

In addition, it has a s alarm system that notifies at the moment if you are stealing the motorcycle or if it is the object of some type of vandalism.

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